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In case of emergency

September 2nd, 2011  |  Published in Featured, Shoot

Every couple planning a wedding has visions of how they would like their day to look & feel. And most every couple knows that things aren’t always going to play out perfectly. Something is bound to come up, yet, for most it’s going to be pretty minor blips that won’t derail the course of the day.

However, this past week, I was in the Adirondacks area of NY, in Keene and Keene Valley, when Hurricane Irene hit. On Saturday these two towns were full of folks enjoying the high peaks region: camping, hiking, climbing, taking advantage of the shops & dining. By Sunday evening, both of these towns (as well as so many others in the New England area) experienced some horrible flooding. Houses filled with water, businesses saturated, foundations of buildings shifted, power outages, even whole roads eaten away by the powerful force of the flood waters.

Not only did this break my heart to see first hand, it also got me to thinking of anyone who had a wedding planned for this coming weekend, and the weekend after that and after that and so on. What, if anything, can you do when the main road to your venue is gone? What happens when you think you’ve planned for everything and then something dramatically unexpected comes along and wipes away your plans? How does one even Plan B something like this?

Below I have some ideas on how you might be able to weather the storm if the unexpected does crash your wedding. Mind you, these are not rules from an expert. These are just brainstormed thoughts I had, some may be feasible, some not so.
I would love to hear your thoughts on what you might do or what you did do when the unexpected came knocking. Please feel free to add your idea to the comments section!

* consider adding a downloadable map of the area where you are having your event to your wedding website, so guests can find alternative routes to your venue, in case you find the main roads to your venue are unuseable.

* if you know your chosen wedding area doesn’t have the best cell or internet reception, make a list on your wedding website of all the local wi-fi hot spots and best cell reception spots. you can place pins on a google map and upload that to your site for guests.

* consider changing the time of your event. most weddings are planned for midday so the reception can go into the evening. however, if a storm is approaching for that time frame, if possible, think about moving your event to the beginning of the day so both you and your guests will have time to take shelter if need be.

* what happens if your venue isn’t useable for your event due to the unexpected? think outside the box! ask local churches if they will allow you to use their space. most churches have halls available. maybe someone locally has land available where you can set up a tent. consider contacting a realty office and asking if any of their vacant properties might be available for an event. while some of these suggestions may not be ideal for you aesthetically, it’s far better than trying to force an event to happen at an unsafe location.

* what happens if a vendor can’t make it due to road closures or airports being shut down? use the power of the internet! put a call out on twitter and facebook and ask your followers/friends to retweet/repost. let the locals in your area know what you’re looking for, especially in smaller towns, most people know someone who knows someone that probably does what you need. again, it may not be ideal, but we’re talking if the ultimately crazy happens, and you need to make due.

* planning a post-wedding brunch in an area that looks like a disaster zone? consider nixing the brunch and you & your guests volunteer that time instead to help those in the area that are in need.

First and foremost, be safe and make sure your guests are safe. That’s #1. After that, don’t panic. You’ll figure it out. Freaking out will only add to the stress you are feeling, don’t waste your energy. Relax, breathe easy knowing your loved ones are all safe and sound.

If the wedding is going to go on, you’ll just need to set aside those visions you had and go with the flow. Caterer can’t make it to the event? So then maybe the local pizzeria can cater. I personally think a pizza party wedding reception would be the best! The floor of your tented wedding look more like a mud wrestling pit? Well, ditch the Manolos and pull on some wellies. Have all the attendants and guests wear them, too!

Just remember the important thing is you are with the person you love, surrounded by your loved ones. You will weather this, and while your day may not be the perfect vision you were hoping for, it most certainly will still be genuine and memorable.

ps. Please consider, instead of handing out favors at your wedding, donating to the Red Cross or to one of charities being set up for so many of the areas that were devastated by the hurricane. Plenty of these towns are going to need volunteers to help with clean up & getting back on their feet again, so consider investing some of your time to help, too!

About Stacey Doyle

Stacey Doyle has written 20 post in this blog.

Stacey is a New England Photojournalist, documenting the story of you.

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